For World AIDS Day, the message is clear: Get tested

WASHINGTON — In recent decades, advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS have changed it from a death sentence into a manageable condition — if it’s caught early.

“It is tremendous. It’s one of the great advances in medical science,” said Dr. Glenn Wortmann, chief of infectious diseases at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. “By getting tested and linked into care, patients can start life-saving medications and can expect to live a normal life span.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone from age 15 to 65 get tested at least once for HIV — more often if in a high-risk group.

“We cannot cure the virus, but we can stop the effects of the virus on the immune system,” Wortmann said.

Wortmann made these other recommendations:

  • Practice safe sex with condoms;
  • Choose your sex partners carefully;
  • Make sure both you and your partner get tested for HIV;
  • If applicable, get into treatment to avoid risks associated with intravenous drug use.

“Especially with the increase in the heroin epidemic that we’re seeing across the U.S., HIV through intravenous drug abuse is a rising concern,” Wortmann said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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